Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Bouldering... on actual boulders! Really!

Lets talk some numbers shall we? 1 half-day, 2 people, 35 degrees, 6 litres of water, 13 cairns built, 2 pairs of gloves, 1 saw, 2 secateurs, 1 hatchet, 1 block cleaned, 5 new boulder problems, 3 problems climbed, 2 projects remaining, 0 pads, 20 or more blocks left to tackle... hmmm.
The obligatory before shot. Our first target was the arete block that Caroline spotted a few weeks ago. Fist we had to negotiate the 3m or so of prickly shite to actually get up face to face with it.
And the after shot. A couple of hours worth of ripping, cutting throwing and stomping followed by a fair amount of brushing dirt and muck off the boulder and it sat ready to be climbed on.
Heres a more telling view of the main act - the arete. I'd describe it as feeling like a frictionless, harder, limestone version of Rhythm and stealth in Glendalough with an equally worrying landing. The ground below the arete falls away in a mess of rocks and (now) some bits of trees partially filling a hole. The smooth nature of the rock means you have to bear down on the edges or verdonesque closed pockets that are there and simply do the moves between them. The obvious horizontal break is slopey too leaving some burl for the finish. I couldn't do it. Not without pads or more spotters anyway. To me it's a classic line. Location, angle, obvious feature and the right difficulty for me to work on. Definitely the hardest 6a I've ever laid my eyes on.
Heres what we got done. Caroline got the ball rolling by climbing the first problem. She pulled on from sitting from a knee-height sidepull and then balanced her way up and left. It was cool with a real slopey top move. Problem two starts as for the first but follows features rightwards getting higher and higher above the deck before having to use some slopers and small but positive footers to reach for safety. Problem three pulls on using a steep crack and then moves left on slopers before balancing back right and up to finish. The yellow arete project is worth obsessing over. The green project is an obvious line breaking out left from problem three and finishing up problem two.
After that we hiked back to the car and went for an exploratory hill run. Oh my God! More quality rock and this time we found a trackside overhanging wall - ideal for bouldering/training - not the mention the miles and miles of undeveloped single and multipitch rock, crazy!!

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